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Welcome Tony Ward

Please welcome, Mr. Tony Ward

Director of Music

After a second interview and having been invited to co-direct our choir last week, on behalf of our staff, I am very pleased to welcome and introduce to you our new Director of Music at Saint Noel Parish, Mr. Tony Ward!

He and his wife, Jenny, and their four children, are native to Omaha, Nebraska, but have lived on the East side of Cleveland for the past four years. His background includes nearly 30 years as a liturgical musician, director, and published composer, as well as having experience in graphic design, music education, and radio. He earned his Master's Degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory and has served church communities in four states. After the pandemic had forced permanent layoffs at a previous parish, he worked as a self- employed graphic designer for Catholic publishers and social media content providers. However, his heart has always been in liturgical music. He has shared that it is doubly joyful to do what he loves most again, “and for such a wonderful community of faith,” he writes.

Among staff members, Mr. Richard Gullion (who served as Director of Music in 2009) and our beloved Agnieszka (who most recently served from 2009-2021), both of whom shared that they “will the good of the parish,” graciously gave of their time to serve on the panel of second interviews. In collaboration with one another, after some time in prayer, and with every confidence, we feel God has placed within our midst, not only the right person whose gifts and talents will be appreciated, but the right fit within our parish family. Already, since Monday, we have all enjoyed light-hearted laughter and faith-sharing in the office.

This Wednesday, as a part of leading prayer at GIFT, Tony will include a piece of original music he composed, that we were already prepared to feature, before we even met him! (Michele, who realized and discovered this, is still trying to process this incredible connection.) So, sign up and RSVP if you haven’t already:

It goes without saying, but our entire parish community owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Anthony Camino, our pastoral associate, who has worn more hats in recent months than Queen Elizabeth II ever could. Since before Advent, throughout this period of transition, and without hesitation, he stepped forward, leading us marvelously well in song. His knowledge and respect for the Mass and liturgical music, solid understanding of the repertoire enjoyed at Saint Noel, respect for our choir and instrumentalists (which he knows have been well-formed), all while fostering our full, active, and conscious participation, has been the very gift needed to carry us before welcoming Tony to our parish family. A word of thanks, too, to Anthony’s wife, Laura. Undoubtedly, his additional commitment demanded sacrifice and time away from each other each week.

The celebration of the Eucharist is the most important thing we do as Catholic Christians. Every Church document stresses just how integral music is to the Mass. Liturgy done well forms us better than anything else; if done poorly, it is to our detriment. I hope you might understand and appreciate just how serious our collective efforts and energy were spent in searching for the right individual who will help ensure this remains our experience of worship at Saint Noel. In our 42-year history, we have been gifted with some of the best. After a nationwide search I am, again, only too pleased to welcome Mr. Tony Ward, and his family, to ours.

May God bless our shared time with one another.

Ad multos annos,
(to many years),

Fr. Terry


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